Happy Birthday Ray!
Today caught me by surprise. It’s been so long that Ray’s been gone that I don’t expect a strongly emotional reaction from myself. The power of time I think.
I always want to honor Ray and mark the day in a special way so I went to my computer to find a picture to post for his birthday. I was looking through all my computer files, all named and arranged by Ray, and came upon the file he had for pictures of himself with the girls.
Love Without End.
And just like that, it broke my heart.
At the beginning with the grief, my grief was not just for myself and the girls and our loss of Ray. It was for Ray’s loss of us. The pain of that was so great and so deep for him and it was all there in “Love Without End.”
These days my emotional connection to Ray's pain is less. I feel his pain hardly at all. But looking at that file, it was all there. His deep grief that he just wanted to live and be with his girls. That he wanted them to remember him. That he loved them so much.
And yet. He was right that his love was a love without end.
Just last weekend Nora was battling a tough fight on the soccer field. Her challenge, not just to play well, but to earn her coach’s trust.
One of the hard things about Ray not being here with us on earth is that sometimes when one of my kids needs me, so does the other.
It was Lucy’s turn for me to watch her game, not Nora so she went alone. When it came time for her game to start, though she was in a different city, Maggie, Lucy and I in our car prayed hard for Nora.
I asked her to feel us by her side and her dad too. I asked for all the help that he could give her and that in the end, that when she succeeded, all the glory would go to God.
I got a text a few minutes after Nora got on the field, that she had scored a goal.
I was not surprised. I call on Ray sometimes when the strength of my mothering is just not enough. I don’t know what things are like in heaven but I am never disappointed and the reliability and power often brings me to tears.
In that spirit, I will paste the lyrics that I can still hear Ray and the girls singing.
“Let me tell you a secret about a father's love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, Amen, it's a love without end, Amen.”
not alone and not afraid –
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you” Mathew 6:28-30